Cancer patients are not immune from the aches and pains of daily life. While cancer pain can frequently overwhelm more mundane pain issues, cancer patients are as susceptible to the headaches, stomach upsets and arthritic twinges that periodically plague most people. In fact, cancer and cancer treatments can add to such woes and even intensify the pain felt. When osteoarthritis pain or stomach upsets strike, potential interaction with cancer treatments and medications may prevent cancer patients from swallowing a couple of Tylenol or downing an antacid tablet.Interest in natural home remedies and foods with curative powers has been increasing in recent years and has attracted the attention of cancer patients who are concerned about possible drug interactions; although some cancer patients are turning to home remedies to avoid downing another pill. Many of the foods used in home remedies carry the additional benefit of boosting the immune system, a plus for cancer patients. It is important to note that even natural foods may interact adversely with some drugs and cancer treatments. Before adopting home remedies, talk to your Issels treatment team.
Some popular home remedies and pain-fighting foods include:
Ginger has been used since early times to soothe digestive upsets. It is also an effective pain reliever, blocking a key enzyme responsible for inflammation. In addition to stomach upsets, ginger may help alleviate joint, muscle and arthritis pain. Two to 3 teaspoons of fresh ginger or ginger extract per day are recommended. Add ginger to stir-fry, soup or beverages. Many people enjoy ginger tea.
Cancer vaccines could be the next big guns in the battle against cancer. Recent strides in immunotherapy offer new hope and promise, bringing us another step closer to the goal of preventing cancer. Numerous clinical trials of therapeutic vaccines are under way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2010 approval of Dendreon Corporation’s prostate cancer vaccine Provenge was heralded as a giant step forward in the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer.Therapeutic cancer vaccines work much like vaccines for measles, polio and other diseases. A disease-specific peptide or protein fragment is injected under the patient’s skin, activating the body’s immune response. As the body rushes to fight the invader, it floods the bloodstream with disease-fighting T and B cells.
Since our founder, world-renowned German cancer specialist Josef M. Issels, M.D., pioneered the use of immunotherapy in treating cancer, among the greatest challenges he and other researchers have faced in developing cancer vaccines is teaching immune responders to recognize cancer cells and developing reliable ways to direct cancer-destroying T-cells to attack tumor sites. Dr. Issels’ development of a comprehensive, holistic approach to cancer treatment using integrative immunotherapy was a milestone in the treatment of advanced cancers.
Preparation of the Issels prostate cancer vaccine uses the same principles adopted by Dendreon’s scientists in the development of Provenge. Our cancer vaccine triggers the activation of tumor-killing T-cells. Antigens released each time a tumor cell is annihilated stimulate the production of new antigen populations that are already programmed to recognize cancer cells, strengthening the attack on tumors. (Click here for a visual explanation of how cancer vaccines work on the Dendreon website.)
The reaction in Times Square is about what you’d expect when people walk through a giant inflatable colon for the first time: embarrassed giggles, outright laughter and, yes, fart noises! The giant colon was on display March 1 to promote the start of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Talk show host Katie Couric, who famously underwent an on-air colonoscopy when she hosted the Today show, led a tweet chat to promote colon cancer education and prevention.One in 20 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and second deadliest, but the prognosis for colon cancer is looking up. When discovered and treated early, colon cancer is highly preventable and has a 90% survival rate.
An aggressive campaign to promote regular colon cancer screenings starting at age 50 (earlier if colon cancer runs in your family) has significantly decreased new cases of colon cancer in the U.S. and decreased the death rate by more than 30%, according to The Doctors. (Click the link to watch The Doctors discuss ways to minimize colon cancer risk.) With increased screenings, 40% of colon cancers are now found early.
Unfortunately, without regular screenings, many colon cancers are not detected until they reach an advanced stage. Lack of early symptoms and/or symptoms that mimic other common intestinal and bowel issues can delay diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Issels Integrative Oncology offers hope for late-stage colon cancer. (Click here to hear about patient remissions.)
Watch our tweets tomorrow for preventative measures that may help lower your colon cancer risk.
Health officials say the flu season seems to be winding down, but the spring cold season will soon be upon us. Cold and flu season can be a particularly dangerous time for cancer patients whose immune systems are already compromised by their disease. Certain cancer treatments may temporarily challenge the immune system, making cancer sufferers even more susceptible to cold and flu germs. Taking steps to boost your immune system can help your body fight off germs and may decrease your chance of catching a cold this spring.Try these natural methods of boosting your immune system:
Sleep regulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the immune system. Sleep isn’t always easy for cancer patients but aim for at least 7 hours a night. If sleep is a problem, talk to your Issels treatment team about possible solutions.
Rapid temperature fluctuations activate the immune system. At the end of your shower, alternate 30 seconds of very hot water with 10 seconds of cold and repeat 3 times.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. Low vitamin D can increase your risk of catching a cold. Experts recommend taking 1,000 to 1,500 IU of vitamin D per day. Dairy products, fatty fish like salmon and sunshine are also good sources of vitamin D.
Zinc supports and enhances the immune system and can decrease the duration of colds. Oysters, baked beans and pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc.
Saline nasal sprays, used several times a day, help irrigate and cleanse sinuses of cold germs.